Features Interviews A Sticky Showcase Preview: 5 Questions for Revelstoke

A Sticky Showcase Preview: 5 Questions for Revelstoke

Article by: Chad Hutchings

Allow us to introduce you to Revelstoke.


In less than two weeks, Canadian Music Week is touching down once again in Toronto, so we went ahead and did our best to put a big gold star on the festival calendar as The Rivoli plays host to The Official Sticky Magazine Showcase on March 20th. With help from our friends over at Audio Blood, we've stacked up a decidedly kick-ass roster, and it's just about time for you to meet the acts that are going to be taking the stage.

Among other gems on the night's line-up sits Revelstoke, the experimental folk project from Toronto's own Andrew Seale. Armed with a couple dozen strings shared out across a band full of instruments, the solo artist creates unconventional and wonderful pieces that have seen the light of day on two releases: 2011's debut EP Esprit d'Escalier and the 2012 follow-up My-Oh-My.

We recently touched base with Seale and fired five quick questions his way on multi-instrumentalism, motivation, and every artist's favourite - what's with the name? (need-to-know fact: it's a town in the Rockies, kids.)

Sticky: First off, let's start with the obvious. As far as I've seen, you're going to be doing a couple of showcases for CMF this year within a couple of days of each other - ours, of course, and another that's inevitably going to be far less awesome. Do you ever find yourself getting stretched too thin to keep up that enthusiasm on-stage? What keeps you driven – caffeine, passion for the music, the love of a good woman..?

Andrew: I'm quite stoked for your showcase. I caught Leif Vollebekk at the El Mo during CMW a few years ago and I wasn't really doing much with my music at the time. His performance definitely shook my atoms and spurred me to start writing again. So it's actually quite an honour to be sharing the stage with him for the showcase. I'm also playing in an Iceland showcase at The Hoxton on Saturday March 23 and collaborating with the talented, ethereal and kindred-spirited Icelandic musician Soley (www.soleysoley.com).

Really, it's these sort of moments that keep me driven – the idea that I can sit in my bedroom and jumble a few awkward chords together while writing about clapping tectonic plates and seahorses and find myself singing those same weird words to interested ears. Toronto has such a vibrant and supportive music community from artist representation and media to the artist themselves.

Of course there's also a wonderful blue-eyed lady with tiny hands and feet there to keep me from falling apart.

Sticky: Speaking of worn thin, this time last year, I saw you perform at Czehoski. Your voice was pretty much annihilated, but you put on a brave face and kept the enthusiasm up, and it definitely didn't affect your instrumental work. Now, I know you play quite a few instruments (mandolin, guitar, and banjo?), but are you working on adding anything else to your arsenal, or is there a breaking point for you?

Andrew: Breaking point? never. I know no boundaries. Okay, maybe horn instruments. The buzzing feeling is too weird and I didn't pay enough attention in music class. But luckily, there are tons of talented horn players who will put up with my chaotic, imperfect perfectionist tendencies.

Sticky: As far as recorded work goes, you've had two releases for two consecutive years. I know that the most recent was in the fall, but it's still stamped with 2012, so I'm going to ask: What's on the table for 2013?

Andrew: Is it pretentious if I quote Dave Eggers? Probably. But it's just too good.

"Secrets do not increase in value if kept in a gore-ian lockbox, because one's past is either made useful or else mutates and becomes cancerous."

I'll likely always have something to say.

Sticky: Just a little bit on the name: What's the significance of Revelstoke?

Andrew : I was told to be nice to you guys, when I answer this. The truth is, the more I'm asked this question the more convoluted the answer becomes. I'm quite removed from that first wandering through Revelstoke and I haven't been back since. But at one point, when I first went out to see what Canada was about – it was the most beautiful place on earth. I've been fortunate enough to see many great places since then but it still is one of my favourites. The idea of standing there, exhaling, right in the middle of these shifting tectonic plates pointed up like elbows towards the sun lives in my DNA. I don't know if people realize how important our relationship with geography is.

Sticky: If the place is anything like your music, I'm guessing it's a pretty dreamy spot to visit. Esprit d'Escalier is actually one of my favourites to play when I'm feeling foggy, and past performances (when I've been in the audience) have always had a very mellow feel. Do you think you'll ever want to just rock out and wail? Will Revelstoke ever become Detroit?

Andrew: I love being mellow. I think everyone loves being mellow. But I came up on hardcore. I caught Metz when I was playing Pop Montreal and I had that all-too-familiar feeling of "shit, I should have done that". One of my favourite Toronto groups at the moment Greys has that same ability. Revelstoke will never be Detroit but some days it would be nice to kick over a few speakers and smash a guitar.


If you'd like to check out more on Revelstoke, take a look at the links below or head over to his Canadian Music Week profile to hear some samples of his sound.